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'Royal Iris'

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Issue: 0 Dated: 19th June 2019

During an outside broadcast from the Thames Clippers an interesting abandoned vessel was noticed below the Thame Barrier at Woolwich

Deciding to investigate the history the old vessel reveals her to be the former Mersey Ferry 'Royal Iris' on the first visit a squatter was living aboard he had later moved on, a follow up broadcast was made alongside the hulk

Starboatrd Side Overview

The 'Royal Iris' overview from the river (25th September 2015)

Starboard Side from River overview

The 'Royal Iris' from the river (25th September 2015)

Starboard Side overview

The 'Royal Iris' from the river (25th September 2015)

Starboard Side from River

The 'Royal Iris' from the river (25th September 2015)

Starboard Side Detail 1

The 'Royal Iris' Starboard Side from the river (25th September 2015)

Starboard Side Detail 2

The 'Royal Iris' Mid ships* from the river (25th September 2015)

* Note holed hull above keel rail

Starboard Side Detail 3

The 'Royal Iris' Aft from the river (25th September 2015)

N.B Photographs below taken from a fast moving Thames Clipper

Liverpool

'Royal Iris' in service at Pier Head, Liverpool with the 'Liver Building' (Undated)

Built by William Deny and Brothers Yard in Dumbarton, Scotland at a cost of £256.00 (£8.7 Million 2019) in 1950

Launched in December she started service on the Mersey on 5th May 1951, the 1,234 Gross Tonnage vessel is 159’ x 48’ with a draught of 9’. Fitted with Ruston & Hornsby Engines powering four generators to drive two electric motors could economically reach a top speed of 12 knots


Audio

1950's Mersey Tug Sequence Edit

Postcard

The Wallasey Ferries Steamer 'Royal Iris' underway (Undated Postcard)

Originally finished in distinctive Green and Cream ship was licensed for 2,296 passengers

Roay Iris 1958

Laden with passengers 'Royal Iris' (1958)

Associated with the ‘Merseybeat’ scene of the 1960’s the Beatles and Gerry & the Pacemakers played onboard

'The Beatles' and interior shots 'Royal Iris'

Nostalgia Wallasey Ferries 'Royal Iris' Liverpool Echo (February 2016)

Shocking Images Reveal Decline - Liverpool Echo (February 2016)

Port Side Port Side 2

'Royal Iris' stern perspectives (25th September 2015)

Even though debts had accrued against the ship she underwent a refit in 1969

Stern Stern

'Royal Iris' Stern perspectives (25th September 2015)

Freshly painted in Blue and White with a new Steak Restaurant replacing the old Fish & Chip Saloon. Side slung Lifeboats were disposed of one being retained on a stern davit

Port Side

'Royal Iris' Portside perspectives (25th September 2015)

HM Queen Elizabeth II sailed on her in 1977 during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations

Licenced to sell

'Royal Iris' licensed to sell... (25th September 2015)

A publicity drive for Merseyside saw ‘Royal Iris’ embark on a 1,500 mile round trip cruise to London

Stern Davit

'Royal Iris' Stern Lifeboat Davit (25th September 2015)

By 1990 she was considered too expensive to keep in service, awaiting her fate she was granted permission for a commemorative sailing marking the 1918 Zeebrugge raids

Bow profile with River overview 1

Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery with 'Royal Iris' (25th September 2015)

With a price tag of £100,000 she was bought for conversion into a Nightclub, Restaurant, and Conference Centre in 1991

Bow profile with River overview 2

Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery with 'Royal Iris' (25th September 2015)

Sold again to a leisure group, she left the Mersey in 1993 bound for Cardiff, but in 1994 the local authorities refused permission for the ships leisure use conversion

Bow with River Bow

'Royal Iris' Bow perspective (25th September 2015)

It was hoped in 1996 she’d return to the Mersey for preservation, this failed

Bow Port Bow

'Royal Iris' Bow detail (25th September 2015)

In 2002 ‘Royal Iris’ was towed to what was to be her final berth below the Thames Barrier at Woolwich in readiness for refitting as a nightclub

Starboard Bow

'Royal Iris' Starboard Side Bow (25th September 2015)

However, in February 2010 the ship had taken water over the stern up to passenger deck level, over time settling into the mud a hole developed on the lower starboard side

Re floating her is now uneconomical and her owners have abandoned her to continued dereliction

Thames Barrier 1

The 'Thames Barrier' from 'Royal Iris' Bow (25th September 2015)

Thames Barrier 2

The 'Thames Barrier' from 'Royal Iris' Bow (25th September 2015)

Thames Barrier 3

The 'Thames Barrier' from 'Royal Iris' Bow (25th September 2015)

Stern 2019

The 'Royal Iris' Stern view (12th June 2019)

Bow 2019

The 'Royal Iris' Bow view (12th June 2019)

The 'Royal Iris' from April 1951

Postcard

A postcard of the Wallasey Ferries Steamer 'Royal Iris' underway (Undated)

'Royal Iris' in service on the River Mersey (1983)

Model

A fine model of 'Royal Iris' (Undated)

Drone Footage of 'Royal Iris' (September 2018)

Woolwich Ferry 1930

Woolwich Ferry (1930)

Downstream the above photograph shows one of the 1922 Vintage Ferries either 'Squires' or 'Gordon' passing the North Woolwich Pier

Time line Notes 'Royal Iris'

The History of Wallasey 'Royal Iris':Woolwich Ferries

You might like to look at this link Save 'Royal Iris'

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